Suzelle Pronk has been making a name for herself, and Namibia, on the international karate circuit over the past few years. This past weekend she once again made her country proud after finishing second in the Senior Female Kata category at the first African Beach Games in Sal, Cape Verde.
Having started karate at the tender age of five, Pronk has now been practicing karate for 22 years and is currently a third Dan (Sandan) in Shotokan Karate.
Suzelle trains directly under Sensei Valdemar Swart of the Shotokan Karate Academy International (Skai) Swakopmund Dojo and has been the captain of the Namibia national karate team since 2018. She is also currently the highest ranked Namibian karate athlete with regards to World Karate Federation points, which are crucial if she is to one day qualify for the Olympic Games.
So far in 2019 Pronk has already participated in two K1 Premier League Karate Events in Dubai and Morocco.
At the 2019 Region 5 Karate Championships which were held in Swakopmund, Namibia, Pronk took home two silver and one bronze medal. This past weekend, she once again made history having been the only Namibian karate athlete selected to participate at the first African Beach Games, where she excelled to win a silver medal after losing to Morocco's Sanae Agalmam in the final.
When asked to comment on her success Suzelle stated: "This was a first for karate and it was an amazing feeling being a part of it all. I am happy with my performance - my coach Llewellyn Manale and I had a game plan and it payed off, but of course there is a lot of room for improvement," she said.
"The games overall were very well organised and it was a great experience. Thanks you coach Llewellyn for keeping me cool and calm throughout! I also want to extend a huge thank you to the Namibian Olympic Committee for supporting the athletes and making this possible," she added.
According to Pronk her ultimate goal is to keep growing as an athlete and to represent Namibia as much as possible on the international stage.
"I hope to better my WKF world ranking by the end of 2019 and my first goal will be the upcoming Junior and Senior Africa Karate Championships in July where I hope to improve on last year's performance where I came seventh overall," she said.
Pronk will continue to train with Manale and the rest of the Namibian national team in preparation for the African Karate Championships which will be held in Gaborone, Botswana, from 9 to 15 July.